Pope asks married couples to raise kids not pets

Pope Francis has warned married couples not give in to a culture of wellbeing and substitute owning dogs and cats for having children.

To make this a deliberate choice can make for a bitter and lonely old age, the Pontiff warned at a Mass at his residence at the Vatican on June 2.

Several couples who had been celebrating wedding anniversaries joined him at the Mass.

Preaching on aspects of marriage, the Pope said married couples should be open to new life, just as the Church is fruitful in generating new children in Christ in Baptism.

The Pope said fruitfulness in marriage can sometimes be put to the test, such as when children are ill or when couples have fertility problems.

Couples who deal with infertility or loss can still look to Jesus and “draw the strength of fruitfulness that Jesus has with his Church”, the Pope added.

However, “there are things that Jesus doesn’t like”, he said, such as married couples “who don’t want children, who want to be without fruitfulness”.

Pope Francis blamed a “culture of wellbeing” for such a choice.

“You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be carefree,” the Pope said.

“It might be better — more comfortable — to have a dog, two cats, and the love goes to the two cats and the dog. Is this true or not? Have you seen it?” he asked the congregation.

“Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness.”

But Jesus is always faithful, even to those who sin and deny him, and “this fidelity is like a light” that shines on marriage, showing what “the faithfulness of love” looks like, he said.

The Pope’s remarks came after Italy’s official statistics agency Istat showed the country’s birth rate hit a record low in 2013, with the birth of only 515,000 babies — a drop of 64,000 over the past five years.

The previous day, Pope Francis told a charismatic rally in Rome that Satan is trying to destroy the family.

Francis asked God to bless families and to give them strength to withstand the devil’s attacks.


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